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Long-Distance Relationships Linked to Happier Couples

Update Date: Dec 17, 2013 02:29 PM EST
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Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, a new study suggests.

Researchers assessed the relationship quality of 717 long-distance couples and 425 "geographically close" couples.  The participants involved in the study were of various ages, sexualities and lived a wide range of distances apart from their significant others.

Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires about the levels of commitment, intimacy and satisfaction they experience in their relationships.

Researchers used the "Dydadic Adjustment Scale" to measure couples' disagreement over different parts of their relationships like showing affection and handling money. The scale also assessed how well couples communicate about their sexual relationship and about the amount of psychological distress, anxiety and depression each participant had felt in the last month.

The findings revealed that long-distance couples were equally as satisfied overall as "geographically close" couples.

Surprising, researchers found "greater distance apart actually predicted more intimacy, communication, and satisfaction in the relationship," according to the Daily Mail.

The study also revealed that certainty in the relationship's future was a better predictor of a successful relationship than the distance between couples.

Researchers said the findings suggest a positive correlation between happy relationships and the distance two people lived apart.

"The further apart the couple was, the better they were doing with respect to satisfaction, intimacy and communication," researcher Karen Blair of the University of Utah told Salon.com.

Blair suggests that this may be because long-distance couples need to find different ways to interact.

Blair said that not being physically together "forces you to work on some of the areas of relationship maintenance that geographically close couples may take for granted, and often overlook," according to Salon.com.

"These results indicate that being in a [long-distance relationship] does not guarantee negative relationship outcomes," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy

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